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  1. #391
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    The healthcare industry has been mangled by government regulation in the U.S. and abroad. Although shifting toward a free market in health insurance (and healthcare more broadly) is the best solution to the existing problems, it also entails the public confronting some uncomfortable truths about the scarcity and cost of resources. It is the constant desire to evade or wish-away these truths that politicians capitalise upon to spread their power and influence -- this must be fought against, because they cannot deliver on their promises.
    Why is the free market the best option in this particular case?

  2. #392
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Why is the free market better in this case?

    I dunno, the problem is that health care, in many cases, is pretty inelastic. I mean, what are you going to do if you have a heart attack, what are you going to do, not go to the hospital in protest of the high prices?
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  3. #393
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Why is the free market better in this case?

    I dunno, the problem is that health care, in many cases, is pretty inelastic. I mean, what are you going to do if you have a heart attack, what are you going to do, not go to the hospital in protest of the high prices?
    The elastic is generally lumped in with the inelastic. Perhaps it would help to separate the two.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #394
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Why is the free market the best option in this particular case?
    When I recommend the "free market," I am referring to a system of voluntary exchange among individuals and groups.

    The U.S. healthcare industry is currently seeped in political interference; both state and federal governments have claimed ever expanding power over healthcare organisation and resources. Increasingly, the fate of companies providing healthcare services has shifted away from competition in the marketplace, and toward the decisions of legislators and bureaucrats. Big health insurers and drug manufacturers have recognised this, and have turned their attention away from staisfying customers. Competititon can be suppressed and a guarunteed demand for their product can be created by harnessing the power of government. Although it may seem paradoxical, capitalists are opposed to capitalism, because it exposes them to risk and reduces profits, and they will try and destroy the marketplace when presented with an opportunity.

    Meanwhile, the federal government has expanded its own spending on healthcare in an unsustainable fashion. More people depend upon it, both for their healthcare or employment, and a powerful voting bloc is established. Mistaken decisions are hardly ever reversed in politics, because there is usually a some vocal group who has a special incentive to keep the spending going, (and especially when they have planned their finances and lives around the promises of politicians). The latest proposals will actually increase costs, destroy competition, and lower the quality of healthcare. Despite it being called a "reform," it is more of a deform, and merely a continuation of a decades long trend.

    In any case, there are ridiculous anti-competitive laws on health insurance companies (although most insurance companies don't mind since it practically ensures their own survival): mandates on what must be included in a policy (some truly bizarre procedures are included to placate special interest groups), prevention of competition among insurers from different states (whatever happened to the constitution's Commerce clause?), and also the stupid idea, now encouraged by laws, of having health insurance provided through employers (a relic of Great Depression era attempts to control wages). A great place to start with real healthcare reform would be here: we need to make companies offering healthcare services more accountable to customers, and less accountable to politicians who are influenced by special interest groups, fads, and their own conceited estimation of their abilities.

    What role do I think the government should have in the healthcare industry? They should enforce contracts and punish fraud. I am not opposed entirely to some taxpayers funds going toward creating a basic "safety net," but the money should be put straight into the hands of people who need it to limit more corruption. However, I predict that no such government "safety net" would be necessary, since I believe a free market in healthcare charity (again, something that does not exist) would suffice to satisfy that end. The healthcare industry needs to be made accountable to its customers in the same way that the computing industry is. This will not happen by way of politicians -- they don't know you and they are not your friend.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  5. #395
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The elastic is generally lumped in with the inelastic. Perhaps it would help to separate the two.
    Elastic healthcare goods: plastic surgeries, elective surgeries, checkups/exams, minor medications?

    Inelastic healthcare goods: Emergency visits, inelective surgeries (well, if you don't have them, you'll likely die), medication for chronic illnesses.

    The problem is that some of the things that are elastic turn into inelastic goods which are generally more expensive procedures.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  6. #396
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComplexMango View Post
    Ummm.... no. Precisely NONE of my suggestions are in Obama's bill. But then again, who knows what goodies may be hidden in its 1,017 pages
    I am totally wrong, but you don't don't know what is in all 1,017 pages?


    Moreover, setting a ceiling REDUCES competition. If we don't trust the government to set the price of bread, or rice, or booze, or lap dances, why do we magically trust them to set the price of health insurance (i.e. a ceiling)?
    You're taking it too literally. Having an honest player in the game(gov option) helps set the ceiling. No ceiling is actually enforced. The market is still the governing force.

    Thats why, my friend, 'hybrid' options don't work. Saying you're a little bit socialist is like saying you're a little bit pregnant. Either you are, or you aren't. Either a system transfers Peters money to Paul, or it doesn't. Since spreading the wealth only works till its gone, either your system will go bust or it won't. And Obamacare is a recipe for bankruptcy, hybrid or gas-guzzling.
    You didn't really say why hybrids don't work? And there are degrees socialism. Look to the Scandinavian countries for example.



    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Elastic healthcare goods: plastic surgeries, elective surgeries, checkups/exams, minor medications?

    Inelastic healthcare goods: Emergency visits, inelective surgeries (well, if you don't have them, you'll likely die), medication for chronic illnesses.

    The problem is that some of the things that are elastic turn into inelastic goods which are generally more expensive procedures.
    Minor symptoms of initial disease are often ignored(elastic) because basic cost of Dr. Visit is so expensive. Disease spreads and expensive surgeries/treatment(inelastic) are now mandatory.

  7. #397
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    avolkiteshvara,

    have you heard of the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom? Basically, its a rough measure of how "capitalist" or "free market" a nations' economy is. Of almost 200 nations included, these are the top 30 most "capitalist" nations:

    1. Hong Kong
    2. Singapore
    3. Australia
    4. Ireland
    5. New Zealand
    6. United States
    7. Canada
    8. Denmark
    9. Switzerland
    10. United Kingdom
    11. Chile
    12. Netherlands
    13. Estonia
    14. Iceland
    15. Luxembourg
    16. Bahrain
    17. Finland
    18. Mauritius
    19. Japan
    20. Belgium
    21. Macau
    22. Barbados
    23. Austria
    24. Cyprus
    25. Germany
    26. Sweden
    27. The Bahamas
    28. Norway
    29. Spain
    30. Lithuania


    Notice that all the "socialist" Scandanavians are in the top thirty!

    This ranking is derived from a nations' "economic freedom score." For context, Hong Kong scores 90.0 and the United Kingdom 79.0, so there is 11 points between 1st and 10th place. This rate declines as we go down the top 30, because Lithuania scores 70.0, a mere 9 points less than the United Kingdom 20 places above. Furthermore, Denmark is only 2 places below the U.S.A., and with a mere 1.1 score difference.

    Moreover, when we break down the "economic freedom score" into its constituent parts, we discover that the "socialist" Scandanavians are more capitalist than the U.S. in many important areas:

    Denmark has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom while having similar property rights enforcement and trade freedom.

    Iceland has greater business freedom, fiscal freedom, and freedom from corruption, while having similar trade freedom and property right enforcement.

    Finland has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption while having similar property right enforcement, financial freedom, and trade freedom.

    Sweden has greater business freedom and freedom from corruption, while having similar trade freedom, monetary freedom, property rights enforcement, investment freedom, and financial freedom.

    Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having similar business freedom, trade freedom, and property right enforcement.

    The Scandanavian countries are not really very socialist at all; the U.S. media just likes to focus on those areas that Scandanavian countries are more socialist, and all the while presumes the United States to be an exemplar of "free market capitalism." But the U.S. is less free than many other countries in many very important respects, and it is really not so far from the Scandanavian countries than many of its citizens suppose.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  8. #398
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComplexMango View Post
    But with a public option, only the GOVERNMENT gets to choose.

    [/IMG]
    You are joking, right? A public option means there is greater choice, competition for private insurance companies. The individual still chooses their plan, whether public or private. Looks like you are the one that needs to work on getting the FACTS straight, and stop drinking that Kool-Aid.

    My "T" is just fine, but thanks for your concern. Though, your ability to analyze a situation may need some work. Just a thought.
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    From up and down and still somehow
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  9. #399
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    Having a public in addition to insurance companies does create more competition. In fact it actually sets a ceiling consumer's premiums/cost which forces health companies to run more efficiently.
    Exactly.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

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  10. #400
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    The government option will "create more competition" in the same way the Post Office creates competition, i.e. it skews the playing field in its favour. Eventually the alternatives will be driven to the periphery or out of existence, and only the rich will be able to afford real health insurance.

    No matter how wasteful the government option is, it will be subsidised. If its existence is threatened by private alternatives, government will impose restrictions on the competition to ensure the government option is always "needed." It will not compete in any meaningful sense, because it will play by an entirely different set of rules.

    The whole point of competitive capitalism is to let consumers vote with their dollars who deserves to stay in business, and that each competitor plays by the same rules is an integral part of the process. But the government never plays fair, it cannot play fair, and ultimately, unless quickly disbanded it will destroy market competition like a cancer.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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